MYAKKA CITY, Fla. (WWSB) - A Myakka City man has been placed behind bars for violating his pretrial release order.
Keith Wandell, 47, was not supposed to possess or be around animals as he was awaiting to go to trial for animal cruelty. Deputies say they found him at a home with animals on June 21. As a result, he was arrested and taken to the Sarasota County Jail for contempt. He was later released.
Law enforcement were called on March 3, 2018 about a dog hanging and possibly dead at an address of the 6200 block of Juel Gill Road in Myakka City.
An Animal Services Officer met with the couple who made the initial call and they showed them a video of a dog hanging from a tether-type restraint inside of a dog kennel at the address. The video was taken from the roadway and the Animal Services database showed that Wandell was listed as the owner.
The officer went to the home and could hear multiple dogs barking from the roadway and said there did not appear to be anyone living at the home. A deputy arrived to help conduct a security check and the deputy found the hanging dog, as well as a second dead dog in a wire crate.
Deputies say the property was severely overgrown and littered with debris and had multiple dog cages of different sizes all over the home. There were signs of decomposed dog food and seven dogs were found alive at the home, but they were all in stages of neglect, including possible dehydration and malnutrition.
All of the dogs, including the two dead ones, were initially transported to the Animal Services Facility in Palmetto as they were unable to locate the dogs’ owner.
Two days later, the dogs were taken to a veterinarian, who determined that the dogs were dehydrated, had worms and other diseases.
Wandell was contacted the same day and deputies say he admitted owning the dogs. He agreed to meet detectives at the property, who confirmed with Wandell they hadn’t missed any animals during their first search, but say he had four more dogs with him that weren’t at the home during their initial visit.
On March 13, 2018, Animal Service officers met Wandell at the property and conducted a recorded conversation. Officers say Wandell again admitted owning the dogs and said he was not living at the property but would visit the dogs twice daily to feed them and give them water. He said the dog found hanging on March 3 was alive when he visited it and claimed he was letting the other deceased dog decompose to collect its skeleton.
Officers say Wandell could not provide any current proof of vet care for the dogs and he was taken into custody by law enforcement.
Wandell is charged with seven counts of Cruelty to Animals and an additional count of Aggravated Animal Cruelty.